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Reviewing Your Manuscript Q&A

Once you’ve submitted your manuscript, it will be pre-checked, and then sent for review.

The reviewing stage is important to journal integrity. Your work will be read and rated by a few academics from your field. Based on their advice, your manuscript may be accepted, returned for minor or major corrections, or rejected.

We answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the review stage below.

Make sure to leave a comment if your question isn’t answered here!

Are excluded reviewers invited for peer review?

Sometimes, you might want to exclude a reviewer, for various reasons. We will of course respect your choice wherever possible.

However, please note that we do reserve the right to invite excluded reviewers. We will only invite them in very exceptional circumstances.

Is there any difference between reports from reviewers recommended by the authors and reviewers recommended by an MDPI internal editor?

The reports are treated in exactly the same way. We always try to obtain at least one review report from a reviewer not recommended by the authors.

What is the purpose of recommending reviewers when submitting a manuscript?

As an author, you are an expert in your field. Chances are, you probably know many suitable potential reviewers.

MDPI always carries out a thorough assessment of all reviewers, recommended by authors or not.

Can authors access review reports as soon as they are received (even before a decision is made)?

To save you time and effort, we only provide review reports after receiving all reports and making a decision.
There’s always the possibility that a review report could be deemed unsuitable, or that the paper could be rejected. By this time, you may have already started writing responses. This is why we do not pass on the reports until we have all of the information. We want to save our busy authors time and hassle.

Photo of books in an academic library. Academics rarely have time to look over a review multiple times.

The Assistant Editor assigned to your manuscript will also remove any comments that disclose reviewers’ identities.

Can an external editor reject a submission even if all reviewer comments are positive?

Reviewers usually make recommendations on a manuscript. They suggest whether or not a paper should be accepted.

But the Academic Editor makes the final decision. They read the paper and the review reports.

The Academic Editor could:

  • Accept or reject a manuscript with positive reviewer comments
  • Accept or reject a manuscript with negative reviewer comments

They will provide a reason for their decision. Authors can also request a more thorough explanation if they do not understand.

Can reviewers see other reviewers’ comments?

Yes, but only after they have submitted their own reports. Reviewers can also choose to hide their comments from other reviewers.

How do you deal with conflicting review reports—one which says the English is fine, and another that says extensive English editing is required?

MDPI edits all accepted manuscripts for English. This is usually included in the journal APC.

However, in a small number of cases, we do charge an additional fee for extensive English editing. Take a look at our help page on Article Processing Charges.

If you are unsure about this, please contact the Assistant Editor assigned to your manuscript.

My paper has been stuck on a single status for a long time, what should I do?

MDPI journals have extremely efficient procedures. Manuscripts pass through each process promptly.

However, there are unusual exceptions. Of the thousands of papers published each year, a few take slightly longer for a number of reasons. A paper might stall at the peer review stage, because the reviewer requests more time. Or, the Assistant Editor assigned to the manuscript may have a heavy workload for a number of days.

We previously published an article on the different statuses and the typical estimated durations.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the journal’s Editorial Office directly.

Why has my paper been rejected?

You can find feedback on the submission system, SuSy. It should be attached to the manuscript.

Manuscripts are rejected for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to:

  • The scientific reasoning is flawed
  • The manuscript lacks originality
  • There are deep-rooted structural problems

Authors sometimes receive a rejection but are invited to resubmit. This is because the paper does need major improvements, but it has a good premise.

If you’re invited to resubmit, invest time in improving the manuscript before resubmission. Make sure you resubmit to the recommended journal or Special Issue. This may be different to your first submission.

No APC is required when a paper is rejected.


The publishing process is key to our operations. We take great care to publish manuscripts efficiently and successfully. Authors are central to MDPI’s journals and we therefore want them to be comfortable and confident about their submissions.

If you have a question, please share it in the comments section.

You can also contact the journal’s Editorial Office. They are always on hand to answer queries.

Article originally published by Martyn Rittman in November 2015.

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